Six men and a limited liability company have been arraigned at the Federal High Courtin Ikoyi, Lagos, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over allegations of N148.3 million fraud.

The defendants were arraigned on Tuesday before Justice Babs Kuewumi. They are Alimi Haruna, Momouda Mohammed, Shittu Muideen, Akpojaro Amos, Joga Yusuf, Duru Patrick, and Ashmina Oil and Gas Limited.

They were charged on allegations bordering on conspiracy, money laundering, unlawfully retaining proceeds of illicit act, obtaining huge amount of money without going through financial institution and obtaining under false pretence.

According to the EFCC lawyer, Ekene Iheanachor, the offences are contrary to sections 18, 15(2)(d) and 1(a) and punishable under sections 15(3) and 16(2) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011, as as amended by Act No. 1 of 2012.

Iheanachor told the court that the defendants committed the offences sometime in May 2017 in Lagos State, noting that they conspired among themselves to disguise the origin of the amount which was proceeds of unlawful activities. 

He particularly told the court that the first defendant, Haruna, his company, Ashmina Oil and Gas Limited, and Okey Onyejiaka and Dublin Energy Limited, now at large, retained the said sum in their accounts with United Bank for Africa (UBA) and First City Monument Bank (FCMB) knowing that the said money was a proceeds of unlawful activity.

He also told the court that Haruna and his company made cash payment of N68.1 million to Dublin Energy Limited without going through financial institution, adding that the duo of Akpojaro Amos, Okey Onyejiaka and Dublin Energy Limited (now at large) retained the sum of N15,140,000 in their FCMB's account and made cash payment of the same amount to Dublin Energy Limited without going through financial institution.

All the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges. 

With the not guilty plea, the prosecutor asked the court for trial date, and urged the court to remand them in prison custody pending till the conclusion of the matter.

Responding, lawyers to the accused, who included N.O. Musa Hussain, O.K. Salawu and A.I. Unegbu, informed the court that they have filed bail applications of their clients.

However, the prosecution told the court that they are still within time to respond to the bail applications.

After hearing form the parties, Justice Babs Kuewumi adjourned the matter till November 5 for hearing of the bail applications, and ordered that the accused persons be remanded in prison custody.

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